This article originally ran June 30, 1971, in the Sioux City Journal.
Luxury, opulence, elegance and glory all burst upon Sioux City on a December day 41 years ago when Sioux Cityans watched with a feeling of metropolitan pride the opening of the $1,500,000 Warrior Hotel.
During the succeeding four decades of its existence, the Warrior has been a part of Sioux City's most glorious immediate history. It has played host to statesmen including presidential candidates, cabinet members and senators, luminaries of the show world, and thousands of other visitors of great and lesser importance.
It has been the scene of glittering balls, sumptuous banquets, hundreds of conventions, weddings, wedding receptions, and political rallies.
Adlai Stevenson spoke to cheering crowds from the marquee of the Warrior when he ran for president in 1952. Former Sen. Guy M. Gillette of Iowa and former Secretary of Agriculture Henry C. Wallace met together at the Warrior in the mid 1940s to give a joint interview.
In more recent years, presidential hopefuls who spoke to their followers either outside or inside the Warrior included the late Sen. Robert Kennendy, Sen. Hubert Humphrey and Gov. Nelson Rockefeller.
The Warrior has had a succession of public restaurants, cocktail lounges and private clubs, all of which had minor roles in the building's history. These included the popular Bomber Room of World War II when some 5,000 men were stationed at the Sioux City Air Base, and the private Sioux City Club for businessmen.
For those who felt a thrill of pride when they entered the Warrior foyer and walked up the ornate double staircase to what formerly was the main lobby, the Warrior's degeneration has hurt as much as seeing a respected and beautiful friend disintegrate.
Most of the Warrior's existence, however, has been one of beauty, begun when it was opened by the Eppley chain, and continued with remodeling in 1962 by the Sheraton Corp., which purchased the hotel from the Eppley chain in 1956.
It was a great day for Sioux City on that Saturday, Dec. 20, 1930, when out-of-town dignitaries, ehaded by Eugene C. Eppley of Omaha, combined with Sioux City leaders to open and dedicate the new Warrior Hotel. The events included a luncheon given by Eppley for 200 persons, most of whom had a part in building the hotel, an afternoon program, and an evening banquet and ball termed at the time "one of the most lavish in the city's history."
Hotel magnate Eppley first became interested in Sioux City in 1915 when he purchased a partnership in the Martin Hotel, and in addition to building the Warrior, also owned the West Hotel. His new Warrior was considered in 1930 as one of the most fabulous of his chain, and no expense was spared in making it a showcase.
Prior to 1962 remodeling, the Warrior's main lobby was on the mezzanine, or second floor, with the ground floor housing an arcade arrangement of shops. The grand staircase with bronze railings opened onto the main lobby lounge, luxuriously furnished to the south, overlooking Sixth Street.
The main dining room was at the east end of the lobby, and at the west and north were private dining rooms, including the Charter Oak, Golden Peacock, Modern French and Saddle and Hunt Rooms.
The Warrior continued under Eppley chain management until 1956 when, with the Martin, it was among the Eppley hotels acquired by the Sheraton Corp. of America. Six weeks later the names were changed to Sheraton-Martin and Sheraton-Warrior.
At that time the corporation spent $500,000 in remodeling, redecorating and refurnishing most of the rooms of both hotels in 1958. One hundred rooms at the Warrior were air conditioned, as well as all public places in the hotel.
In 1962, the Sheraton began a second renovation program on the Warrior. In the process, the hotel was converted into a motor inn with a drive-in motor entrance at the northeast corner. The lobby was lowered to the street level, and, on the second floor, the lobby lounge was removed to permit the enlargement of the ballroom, built in L shape.
The hotel changed again in October of 1968 when it was sold by the Sheraton Corp. to Wellington Associates of New York City, of which Gotham Hotels Limited is a subsidiary. Gotham is the current owner of the financially-beset building, which closed its door finally Wednesday, leaving an uncertain future for the one-time showplace of downtown Sioux City.